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PostSubject: Re: news/reviews/previews   Wed Mar 26, 2008 2:42 am

WiiWare Launches in Japan
We take a look at the service and preview all of the games.
by Matt Casamassina
March 25, 2008 - Nintendo launched its long-awaited WiiWare service in Japan last night. (It will debut in America on May 12.) WiiWare, of course, describes all of the original games which can be purchased through the Wii Shop Channel – the perfect complement to the growing selection of classics already available. We've spent ample time with the service, downloaded and played all of the launch games, and have readied both our initial observations of the WiiWare component itself and brief previews of the first wave of titles.

There is no WiiWare Channel on the Wii's main interface. Rather, players access WiiWare titles through the Wii Shop Channel. Prior to the launch of WiiWare, the Wii Shop Channel housed both Virtual Console and Wii Channel download sections. Now, a WiiWare option appears in the middle of the two. After clicking on the WiiWare icon, gamers are treated to several different browsing avenues, including the ability to sort games by the newest released, by company and by genre, among others. It is also possible to search for specific titles by entering their names. Wii owners intimately familiar with the inner-workings of the Wii Shop interface will find WiiWare's to be a logical extension and not a departure.

Nine WiiWare games are available for the Japanese launch, of which only two (technically, only one) have been created by Nintendo: Dr. Mario & Virus Buster and Pokemon Ranch, the latter handled by the Pokemon Company, to be specific. The remaining seven titles come from third-parties, all Japanese, such as Square Enix, Genki, Gmode, Arc System Works, Bandai Namco and Hudson. The cheapest WiiWare game, Okiraku Ping Pong, costs 500 Wii Points or $5, while the most expensive, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King, will set customers back 1,500 Wii Points, or $15. Given the incredibly shallow nature of many of the launch titles – many of which ignore the Wii remote's infrared pointer and accelerometer altogether – we feel that some of the titles are grossly overpriced.

The full list of WiiWare launch titles includes the aforementioned Final Fantasy, Dr. Mario, Pokemon Ranch and Okiraku Ping Pong, but also the shooter Star Solder R, Word Puzzle Mojipittan Wii, Tenshi no Solitaire and Lonpos. Neither Solitaire nor Lonpos use the Wii remote IR despite the fact that they are card and board games respectively and therefore inherently suited to such control. Kind of takes the Wii out of WiiWare, in our experience. Also, omissions like these demonstrate the lack of care that went into designing many of these efforts for WiiWare's launch.




--------------------------------------------------------------------------------




Dr. Mario hands-on
Dr. Mario videos

Pokemon Ranch hands-on
Pokemon Ranch videos

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King hands-on
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King videos

Star Soldier R hands-on
Star Soldier R videos

Okiraku Ping Pong Wii hands-on
Okiraku Ping Pong Wii videos

Tenshi no Solitaire hands-on
Tenshi no Solitaire videos

Word Puzzle Mojipittan Wii hands-on
Word Puzzle Mojipittan Wii videos

Saku Saku Animal Panic hands-on
Saku Saku Animal Panic videos

Lonpos hands-on
Lonpos videos


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Interestingly, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King and Lonpos both pre-warn buyers that they may be required to pay for future game-enhancing updates and downloads – the first sign of Nintendo's recently announced pay-to-play service in motion. In Final Fantasy's case, we expect that gamers will be able to buy new classes and outfits, while in Lonpos players may be able to buy new challenges and puzzles. No other WiiWare launch games use the functionality, however.

Wii Shop users who love the Channel's gifting feature will be happy to learn that it is also possible to give WiiWare games to friends. The process works in exactly the same way – gamers choose the gifting option, select the recipient from their friend's list, pay for the title, and off it goes. Those lucky enough to receive gifted WiiWare titles will find a waiting message with a link to the Shop Channel in their system's message board. Easy. No fuss.

Probably the most interesting feature we've run across in some WiiWare games, though, is the ability to play multiplayer titles online against other gamers who haven't actually purchased a version of the WiiWare title in question. It's very similar to DS Download Play minus the DS, of course. Take Dr. Mario, for example. We purchased the game on a Japanese Wii system from our Los Angeles office. Then, in the game's Wi-Fi menu, we chose to send a multiplayer-only version of the title to one of our friends – specifically, Nintendo Team executive editor Craig Harris, out of San Francisco. Harris quickly received a prompt on his system, which guided him to the Wii Shop Channel to download a special multiplayer-only version of Dr. Mario. Once we had both exchanged Dr. Mario-specific friend codes, we could then engage in online matches, which ran seamlessly. Harris could not, however, exit out and play single-player matches of Dr. Mario.

Thus far, the concepts powering WiiWare – original games, pay-to-play content, the ability to send online-centric versions of titles to friends – are all very promising. The prices for some the shallow launch efforts, though, definitely have us concerned, and so do the quality of these first efforts, some of which only minimally put Wii's features to good use; some not at all. Thankfully, the launch of WiiWare in America in May, already set to encapsulate more promising titles like LostWinds and Defend Your Castle, is far more encouraging.

We have written previews for all nine WiiWare launch games, which can be read by clicking on the links above. Viewers can also check out new screenshots and videos for each of the titles.
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PostSubject: Re: news/reviews/previews   Wed Mar 26, 2008 2:42 am

Mojipittan Wii Hands-On
Namco's popular puzzle series helps launch WiiWare.
by Daemon Hatfield
March 25, 2008 - For the WiiWare launch in Japan, Namco Bandai is offering a downloadable version of its popular word game series, Mojipittan. We spent some time with the puzzle game today, and discovered we are apparently fluent in the Japanese language.

Despite having no knowledge of Katakana, we were laying down tiles, making words, and racking up combos. Of course, these were just the very early stages of the game, surely designed so that any combination of tiles will spell something. The truth is, a word-based puzzle game played entirely in Japanese is next to impossible for gaijin to play. So we will attempt to deliver some very basic impressions of this game that will never come to the U.S.

Visually, Mojipittan has a very clean, cartoon look that reminds us of Namco Bandai's Tamagotchi games. The tiles you have to work with are stacked on the right side of the screen, and your playing field comes in a variety of shapes -- everything from fish to baseball players to bananas. The language isn't the only thing Japanese, here. All of Mojipittan's presentation, from the young girl's voice who greets you at the title screen to the eyes of the tile stack that follow your pointer, is distinctly Japanese.





Tiles can only be built off existing pieces, and they must form a word. If you find you can't make anything with the tiles you have left, you'll have to undo your previous placements one by one until you can play again. The game has a built-in dictionary that keeps track of all the words you create and provides definitions. You can also look up potential words to see if the game will accept them.

There are loads and loads of levels, and unlockable stages on top of that. As you complete puzzles you'll unlock different accessories for your helper friend to hold. There is also multiplayer, both locally and over wi-fi.

Mojipittan could definitely be fun if we were capable of understanding the tiles. Word games are all the puzzle rage, now, so something like it will certainly show up on the U.S. WiiWare sooner or later.
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PostSubject: Re: news/reviews/previews   Wed Mar 26, 2008 2:43 am

Lonpos Hands-On
A virtual puzzle with no pointer control? Say it ain't so.
by Bozon
March 25, 2008 - Like Tetris, Lonpos is a game that has gotten a huge amount of attention across the budget PC, web, and cell phone platforms, as the basic ball puzzle is perfect for quick ports and simple designs. With it being a very popular series in Japan, it makes sense to have an official Lonpos title for the WiiWare launch.

The general premise behind Lonpos is simple, as you'll take pre-made blocks and fit them into a specific frame of space. Like the classic Tangrams puzzles, there's one right way to solve each puzzle, and it'll take a mix of strategy, spatial reasoning, and some trial and error to beat each challenge. The core game is fun, and the Wii version is true to the game's original design.

Unfortunately, like Tenshi no Solitaire, Lonpos isn't worth the cash it's asking for on Wii Ware. For 1,000 points (that's $10 bucks), players can download the main Lonpos experience, complete with single and multiplayer, rankings, as well as the optoin to also purchase a pay-per-play downloadable bundle (which we can't currently access) to flesh the product out. And while the game has more options than most of the titles out there on WiiWare right now, it's lacking in a big way as far as presentation goes. For starters, the game runs in only 4:3 and 480i, and with other titles already available on WiiWare pushing 16:9 and 480p, it instantly looks dated. As a much larger issue though, Lonpos – just like Solitaire – uses the d-pad and buttons rather than in-game IR, so players will be moving an on-screen pointer via the Wii-mote's d-pad, making for a slow, clunky experience.





The choice for uninspired controls is really a downer to the rest of the experience as well, since the game has a huge list of options, multiple modes for both single and vs. play (even including co-op mode), and overall is a decent mix of depth and simplicity for Wii Ware. We'd still never suggest you drop 1,000 points on it though, as the gameplay control is a total cop-out, and it impacts the rest of the game.
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PostSubject: Re: news/reviews/previews   Wed Mar 26, 2008 2:44 am

Okiraku Ping Pong Wii Hands-On
Polished products come in all shapes, sizes, and prices.
by Bozon
March 25, 2008 - It may not be the most in-depth ping pong experience out there, but Okiraku Ping Pong Wii is a great example of how to do WiiWare utilizing the Wii's technology (both motion and pointer), hitting the right price point, and delivering a scaled down – but still full - experience. There's a decent list of products already out on Japan's download service, but Okiraku Ping Pong stands out not as the best overall game, but as a great cross-section of what WiiWare is all about.

Like any simplified version of tennis or pong, Okiraku Ping Pong uses a simple waggle system to deliver one-on-one ping pong on Wii, very similar to Wii Sports or Wii Play. The game's interface is extremely simple, but includes everything you'd want for a quick burst of play before getting into a larger Wii affair. Boot up the game, select from one of four players (a young boy, young girl, older woman, and older man), and then either play in a single player tournament mode, or hit up a few mini-games. The only thing missing is 16:9 support.

Right off the bat we noticed how concise the package is. IR is used for fast menu navigation, A+B begins the game, and a small list of options await the player. There's the aforementioned single player mode, and depending on who you select to play the other three players in the game become your three-game "campaign" mode. Very simple, but easy to jump in/out of between Smash Bros. matches or Mario Kart races, and that's the idea. Aside from the main mode, there's also an extremely basic two player section (pick characters, select from the three stages, set the rules, and go), and also three mini-games to play. The minis are very basic in concept, but are still a nice addition to the cheap, 500 point package, with a rally mode (the more hits against a computer player, the more that rally is worth), an accuracy target mode, and a tic-tac-toe game. Each are brief, but adding depth to the already budget WiiWare title with local leaderboards to boot.





As for the gameplay itself, Okiraku Ping Pong is very basic, but par for the "casual" design it embraces. Players use only the Wii remote, lifting it to toss the ball, and then swinging left or right to hit the ball in the intended direction. Timing also comes into play, with poor shots leaving your character in a shocked state, allowing competitors to spike the ball with an "A+motion" smash if you don't waggle out of it in time.

In the end, it isn't that Okiraku Ping Pong is the best Wii game out there for launch (games like Star Soldier R, Dr. Mario, and My Life as a King are very impressive), but it's a great example of how to make a small, casual game for Wii Ware, without making the experience feel gimped along the way. This one has all the polish of a wrapped Wii game, just with a smaller overall core. Arc System Works has the right idea here.
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PostSubject: Re: news/reviews/previews   Wed Mar 26, 2008 2:55 am

Okiraku Ping Pong Wii
Also known as: Okiraku Ping Pong Wii Ware

Part of the Wii Ware service for downloadable games, this is a Ping Pong title that uses the Wiimote for direct controls of your in-game counterpart's paddle. Based on how you swing, you can achieve top spin, back spin, smashes and other shots. The game lets you chose between automatic movement and manual movement. When set to automatic, all you have to do is time your shots and swing. Those who want the full ping pong experience will want to go with manual mode. Modes of play will include a challenge mode, where you earn items by playing five mini games, and a four player doubles mode, where the screen splits to make sure everyone has a similar view of the action.

Developed by: ARC System Works

Genre: Sports
Number of Players: 1-2
Release Date:
US: TBA
Japan: March 25, 2008
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PostSubject: Re: news/reviews/previews   Wed Mar 26, 2008 2:57 am

Dr. Mario & Virus Buster
Also known as: Dr. Mario Wii, Dr. Mario Wii Ware, Dr. Mario & Saikin Bokumetsu (JPN)

Dr. Mario Wii is a remake of the classic Dr. Mario puzzler. You can make your Mii appear in place of the Mario characters, and can challenge friends over Wi-Fi. The game includes the Saikin Bokumetsu game from the Japanese Brain Age 2, which can now be play cooperatively with four players.

Published by: Nintendo

Developed by: Nintendo

Genre: Puzzle
Number of Players: 1-4
Release Date:
US: TBA
Japan: March 25, 2008
Europe: TBA

Features: Online
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PostSubject: Re: news/reviews/previews   Wed Mar 26, 2008 2:58 am

Pokemon Farm
Also known as: Pokemon Wii Ware, Pokιmon Farm, Pokemon Bokujou (JPN), Pokemon Ranch (EU)

An exclusive title for Nintendo's Wii Ware downloadable gaming service, this game lets you transfer your Pokemon over from Pearl and Diamond. You can then raise your little friends in a farm-like environment. You're free to bring your Mii and your family's Miis to your ranch and can do things like taking pictures of your Pokemon which can then be sent to friends.

Published by: Nintendo

Developed by: Nintendo

Genre: RPG
Number of Players: 1
Release Date:
US: TBA
Japan: March 25, 2008
Europe: TBA
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PostSubject: Re: news/reviews/previews   Wed Mar 26, 2008 3:00 am

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King
Also known as: Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Wii Ware, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Young King and the Promised Land, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Chiisa na Ousama to Yakusoku no Kuni (JPN)

Exclusively available for Wii Ware, this game tells the story of what happened after the original Crystal Chronicles. The Little King of the subtitle, who lost his kingdom due to the events of the first game, gains from the crystals the power to build things. He uses this to revive his fallen kingdom. The game's genre is "Country Building RPG."

Developed by: Square Enix

Genre: Adventure
Number of Players: 1
Release Date:
US: TBA
Japan: March 25, 2008

Features: Game Share Multiplayer
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PostSubject: Re: news/reviews/previews   Wed Mar 26, 2008 3:01 am

Star Soldier R
Also known as: Star Soldier Wii Ware

Part of the Wii Ware service for downloadable games, Star Soldier R brings back Hudson's classic shooting franchise with new 3D graphics.

Published by: Hudson Soft

Developed by: Hudson Soft

Genre: Shooter
Number of Players: 1
Release Date:
US: TBA
Japan: March 25, 2008
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PostSubject: Re: news/reviews/previews   Wed Mar 26, 2008 3:01 am

Tenshi no Solitaire
Also known as: Tenshi no Solitaire Wii Ware

Developed by: G-mode

Genre: Card
Number of Players: 1
Release Date:
US: Unreleased
Japan: March 25, 2008
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PostSubject: Re: news/reviews/previews   Wed Mar 26, 2008 3:02 am

Mojipittan Wii
Also known as: Mojibittan

Part of the Wii Ware downloadable gaming service, this is a version of Namco's Japanese word puzzle game series.

Published by: Namco

Developed by: Namco

Genre: Puzzle
Release Date:
US: Japan only
Japan: TBA 2008
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PostSubject: Re: news/reviews/previews   Wed Mar 26, 2008 3:03 am

Saku Saku Animal Panic Hands-On
Break dancing crocodiles: what WiiWare is all about.
by Daemon Hatfield
March 25, 2008 - Konami has a charming little game available from the Japanese WiiWare called Saku Saku Animal Panic. It's part Zoo Keeper, part Qix, and totally cute. Each level takes place in a pen with a variety of animals. The object is to fence in the beasts and separate them by species. Apparently, animals are all xenophobes because they do a happy dance when they are secured in a gated community with their own kind. Konami is obviously making a bold statement on modern race relations.

Don't be fooled by the adorable critters and their break dancing -- these savage beasts will tear you apart if you so much as brush against them. The bigger brutes (your bears, your crocodiles) will chase after you if you get too close. But even the bunnies and penguins will end your life if you come into contact. You have three lives to work with, but when they're gone you'll need to start the level over -- not a big deal, as each stage only lasts a couple minutes.





The animal threat doesn't end with you. They will eat each other if you don't fence them in fast enough. Each varmint devoured will lower your score for the level. When eaten, their spirits float away in a ghost cloud, a la Pikmin.

Visually, Animal Panic does not impress. While the graphics are cel-shaded, they clock in at about Nintendo 64 quality. The main character isn't very well animated, and overall the game lacks polish. Objects simply disappear when picked up, without any visual cue or sound effect. Still, as stated before, the game's lighthearted feel and delightful animal dances won us over. Each species has its own moves, and it's a nice recognition of the player's efforts.

Presents will appear on the playing field to aid in corralling your critters. It may be a carrot to lure the horses into their pen or a steak to get the bears' attention or a squirt gun to get the sheep where you want them.

The music is a variety of guitar-based tunes, from bluesy jams to metal riffs. It's enjoyable for the most part, and includes quirky touches like the guy who shouts "yeah!" when you complete a level.

In the short time we spent with Animal Panic we encountered a large variety of animals through Farmyard, Outback, Forest, and Arctic areas. There appear to be around 50 levels in all. It was developed by an American studio, so a U.S. release is likely.

Saku Saku Animal Panic
Also known as: Saku Saku Animal Panic Wii Ware

Published by: Konami

Genre: Action
Number of Players: 1-4
Release Date:
US: Unreleased
Japan: March 25, 2008
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PostSubject: Re: news/reviews/previews   Wed Mar 26, 2008 3:04 am

Lonpos
Also known as: Lonpos Wii Ware

Developed by: Genki

Genre: Puzzle
Number of Players: 1-4
Release Date:
US: Unreleased
Japan: March 25, 2008
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PostSubject: Re: news/reviews/previews   Wed Mar 26, 2008 3:17 am

React Recharge Dock for Wii Review
We check out React's stylish new charging kit.
by Scott Lowe
March 25, 2008 - There are few things more aggravating than settling down for an eight-hour session of Super Smash Bros. Brawl with some friends and finding that one or more of your Wiimotes are drained. Granted, the average Wiimote AA battery lifespan averages about 30 hours, but for avid Wii fans, 30 hours can pass in an instant. Recognizing the Wii's massive appeal and fanatical following, manufacturers have been quick to produce a range of rechargeable Wiimote batteries and charge stations since the system's launch. Many early battery/charge station combos were limited to only two charging slots for added space efficiency, as seen in the Thrustmaster T-Charge All NW and the Nyko Wii Charge Station. But, as a largely multiplayer-oriented system with up to four players on one console, most Wii users require more charging capabilities than manufacturers have recently offered. Heeding the call, multi-platform accessory manufacturers React Gamer Inc. recently released a new, four Wiimote charge station kit.




React's aptly dubbed Recharge Dock kit comes with four rechargeable battery packs and a stylish base station. Like most Wii accessories, the React charge station and battery packs adhere to the Wii's white aesthetic. The React battery packs vary slightly and feature an off-white tinge in order to distinguish them from the stock AA packs and prevent any potentially hazardous misplaced charging. The base station adds some unique flare to the typical Wii scheme by including a blue LED dock illumination. However, the Recharge Dock's distinguishing feature is also one of our primary gripes. While the base station's LED illumination is visually titillating, it lacks an on/off switch. The continual illumination proves to be distracting and placing the base within the visual scope of your television is subsequently inadvisable. In addition to the blue LEDs, the base also features LEDs built into each respective Wiimote docking slot that glow red when charging. As we discovered with Nyko and Thrustmaster's charge stations, Wiimote straps tend to dangle to the side of the React base station and users must use added care to ensure that the straps do not block the charger connection.


One particularly noteworthy advantage to the React Recharge Dock is its Wiimote weight reduction. The included Wiimote lithium polymer battery packs are significantly lighter than stock AA packs and reduce the strain of prolonged gaming sessions. In regards to lifespan, we managed to squeeze about 20 hours of use out of a single charge of the React battery pack. While charges tend to last slightly shorter than an AA battery pack, if recharged every other day users are unlikely to ever encounter a dead Wiimote. Individual user experience with battery lifespan is sure to vary by game title, vibration effects, and nunchuck use. However, we are confident that the lithium packs will last for a reasonable duration.

Overall, the React Recharge Dock is an effective piece of third party Wii hardware. The price, coming in at roughly $50, while more costly than other two-Wiimote charge stations is proportional to the number of charge slots. Plus, users will surely save when no longer having to shell out cash for the ever-growing cost of AA batteries. The base station is pretty solidly constructed and, with a few minor aesthetic gripes aside, functions pretty well. The React Recharge Dock is available through online retailers and at Best Buy locations nation wide.

IGN's Ratings for React Recharge Dock for Wii
Rating Description
out of 10
9.0 Performance
Recharges Wiimotes simply and without effort.
7.0 Build Quality
Soundly constructed and seemingly durable.
9.0 Ease of Use
As simple as plug in and charge up.
8.0 Value
Although pricier than competition, the charging capacity is on par with the cost.
8.5 OVERALL
(out of 10 / not an average)
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PostSubject: Re: news/reviews/previews   Wed Mar 26, 2008 7:17 pm

Lonpos Expansion Delayed
WiiWare paid download content will have to wait.
by John Tanaka
March 25, 2008 - With all the talk about WiiWare micro-transactions of late, you might be wondering what it's like to actually pay some cash to update your WiiWare games. Unfortunately, we can't tell you just yet because there isn't any actual downloadable updates available for the Japanese version of the service at the moment.

Originally, Genki's Lonpos puzzle title was scheduled to launch alongside a set of booster packs. That's what got all the micro-transaction talk started, as Genki priced the updates at 500 Wii Points each, making them half the price of the main game.

Lonpos is now available for the WiiWare service, but the booster packs are nowhere to be found. They've officially been delayed by Genki to an undisclosed date.

As previously announced, the booster packs will add 25 puzzles to the main Lonpos game along with a custom visual theme. Genki was scheduled to release nine booster packs for the game which, with a bit of math, would add up to a total price of 5,500 Wii Points to get the whole package.

Other WiiWare titles confirmed to have future paid downloads include Crystal Chronicles and Mojipittan. Specifics have et to be revealed by Square Enix and Bandai Namco.
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PostSubject: Re: news/reviews/previews   Wed Mar 26, 2008 7:17 pm

Block Breaker Announced for WiiWare
This one has some hot competition.
by John Tanaka
March 26, 2008 - Let it be forever known that WiiWare was available for exactly one day in Japan before someone decided to announce something a bit naughty for the service.

Game Loft announced today a WiiWare version of Block Breaker Deluxe. This updated version of the company's mobile Breakout clone will feature Wiimote controls and support for two player simultaneous play. But of even more interest are the hot girls who act as your in-game rivals.

We have to admit that we'd have totally preferred a version of the company's other mobile Breakout clone, Ecchi na Onesan Kuzushi, where naughty anime chicks are the main attraction. But this should be much better than the angels of Angel Solitaire and the nothing of Lonpos.

Block Breaker Deluxe will hit the Japanese service in April at 800 Wii Points. Game Loft is also planning releases in North America and Europe.
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PostSubject: Re: news/reviews/previews   Wed Mar 26, 2008 7:18 pm

Opoona, KOEI's Role-Playing Game for Wii in Stores Now
Opoona is ready to take you on an out-of-this-world role-playing adventure.
March 26, 2008 - KOEI, recognized worldwide as the premier brand of strategy and action games, today announced that Opoona, a new Role-Playing Game (RPG) exclusively for Wii is available now in store and online through retailers across North America including: Amazon.com, Game Crazy, Gamefly, and GameStop.

About Opoona

While on an interplanetary family vacation, the young boy Opoona crash lands on Planet Landroll after his family's spaceship is involved in a mysterious accident. Separated from his family, Opoona is forced to live alone. On the planet, Opoona must find a job, search for his siblings, and defend himself and the people of Landroll against creatures known as the Dark Rogues. Luckily for Opoona, he is the descendant of a long line of warriors known as the Cosmo Guards. Thus, Opoona's adventure begins as he struggles to establish a new life and reunite his family.

The game's action-oriented battle system lets players use powerful "Energy Bonbons" against their enemies. Using just the Nunchuk, players can manipulate an Energy Bonbon's trajectory in a number of different ways. All of Opoona's commands are also controlled by the Nunchuk, to allow a complete "single-hand control" of the game.

The gameplay in Opoona is not just about battling; it is a "Lifestyle RPG." As Opoona, players must adapt to a new environment, meet new people, and contribute to society through work, all while becoming aware of the precious world and people around him. As the game progresses, Opoona will develop relationships and uncover a broader range of activities including new jobs and clues to new adventures.

The unique characters and a modern fantasy world created by Art Director, Shintaro Majima, are sure to fascinate gamers. From futuristic buildings to ancient ruins and strange rock formations in the wild, the world of Opoona is a remarkable fusion of both contemporary design and whimsical fantasy.

Developed by ArtePiazza, the team behind four installments of the best-selling Dragon Quest series of RPGs, Opoona showcases the talent of some of today's most creative game designers including: Art Director Shintaro Majima, Planning Director Sachiko Sugimura, and Composer Hitoshi Sakimoto, acclaimed for his contribution to the Final Fantasy XII soundtrack.

Opoona is rated "E10+" (Everyone 10+ - Mild Fantasy Violence, Mild Language, Suggestive Themes) by the Entertainment Software Ratings Board. Opoona is a single player game. For updates on Opoona, please visit www.koei.com/opoona.

About KOEI Corporation

Based in Burlingame, California, KOEI Corporation established operations in 1988 as the North American subsidiary of KOEI Co., Ltd. of Japan. KOEI is respected worldwide as the premier brand of strategy and simulation games, and is the innovator of the Tactical Action genre. The company's Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors series of games have generated a combined 15 million units in global sales.

KOEI develops, publishes, and distributes interactive software for video game systems and personal computers. For fiscal 2006, KOEI posted worldwide revenues of $206 million. KOEI maintains operations in Japan, the U.S., the UK, France, Canada, China, Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and Lithuania. More information about KOEI and its products can be found at www.koei.com.
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PostSubject: Re: news/reviews/previews   Fri Mar 28, 2008 4:17 am

Wii Remotes being used to defuse bombs?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

No this is not some bomb defusing game someone is shooting forth, the US military has really been using Wii remotes to operate bomb defusing robots in real life war-zones. It seems that the controllers motion sensor is the main reason for this.


Quote:
"Made by iRobot in Burlington, Massachusetts, the robot, called the Packbot, uncovers explosives, locates landmines for soldiers in the field, and disposes of bombs. And it's controlled by the Wii Remote because the controllers are more instinctive, allowing users to focus on data processing."

Maybe we will see a bomb defusing game arrive soon?
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PostSubject: Re: news/reviews/previews   Sun Mar 30, 2008 11:33 pm

WiiWare Karaoke Detailed
Thousands of songs coming to the Japanese Wii.
by John Tanaka
March 28, 2008 - One of the first titles announced for the Japanese WiiWare service last year was Karaoke Joysound, a karaoke program that promised downloadable music for the Wii. Today, at a Tokyo press conference that also saw the unveiling of new WiiWare games like Alien Crush and Blue Oasis, Hudson shared specifics on this potential killer app for Nintendo's new download service.

Hudson appears to have some ambitious plans for Karaoke Joysound Wii, as the program is currently being called. The company hopes to have 20,000 songs available at the start of service, with 1,000 additional songs added every month.

Although it's being referred to as a WiiWare title, Joysound is a bit different from the rest of the WiiWare lineup. Users download the Joysound program from a server that's being exclusively set up for it. This server will also house the songs for downloading.

Hudson is currently considering a billing system based not on a per song rate, but on a subscription rate. Users will presumably be able to download as much as they want over a set period of time.

As previously announced, Joysound will be released both as a WiiWare download and as part of a package version. The package version will include a USB microphone, and may include lesson modes and more elaborate displays during songs. For those who do opt for the WiiWare version, Hudson plans on offering the microphone separately.

Sadly, specifics beyond this were not shared today. However, Hudson reps did state that they expect a Japanese release by this summer.
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PostSubject: Re: news/reviews/previews   Mon Mar 31, 2008 8:42 pm

Gameloft Calling WiiWare
Mobile ports and original content on the way.
by Daemon Hatfield
March 31, 2008 - Gameloft, best known for its mobile offerings, has announced it has a quadrilogy (word: no, fun to say: yes) of games on the way for WiiWare. Three are ports of existing mobile games, and there is one original trivia title in the works.

Block Breaker Deluxe, Midnight Pool, and Midnight Bowling are all self-explanatory games that have been best-sellers on cell phones. Gameloft is enhancing these titles with new graphics, features, and Wii Remote support.

TV Show King will be an exclusive WiiWare title testing players' general trivia knowledge.



Block Breaker on iPod and Midnight Bowling on mobile phones.Gameloft's games will arrive on the WiiWare service in the U.S., Europe, and Japan.
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PostSubject: Re: news/reviews/previews   Mon Mar 31, 2008 8:43 pm

Straight from the Nintendo Pressroom is some interesting news. A new Downloadable Content service. Initially there will be 27 games that will have DLC services including Brawl, Twilight Princess, Fire Emblem, Metroid: Corruption, and Mario Kart.
The service is due out soon too. As soon as May 13, 2008 you'll be able to download new characters, levels, quests, and weapons in your existing games. They already said Brawl will be getting 4 new characters and 2 new maps.

This is very exciting and a much needed feature. I just wonder where they expect us to keep all this downloadable content. Nintendo, just stop toying with my emotions and gimme a hard drive.
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PostSubject: Re: news/reviews/previews   Mon Mar 31, 2008 8:49 pm

you relli should stop psoting here now cos i dont think atm anybody is gona look at it
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PostSubject: Re: news/reviews/previews   Tue Apr 01, 2008 12:40 am

idc i like 2
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PostSubject: Re: news/reviews/previews   Tue Apr 01, 2008 12:47 am

Interview: Camelot Software Planning
The Takahashi brothers chat with us about We Love Golf, working with Nintendo, and a sequel to Golden Sun in this must-read interview.
by Matt Casamassina
March 31, 2008 - If you're a Nintendo fan, you should know the development studio Camelot Software Planning. The Japanese videogame maker has created a number of hits throughout the years, from Mario Golf and Mario Tennis to Shining Force and Golden Sun. Now, it's just wrapped up the American version of We Love Golf, which looks to be Wii's defining golf game. We recently sat down with Camelot heads Hiroyuki and Shugo Takahashi, two charismatic, outspoken and hilarious brothers well-versed in the arts of both making games and working with Nintendo. Here's what they had to say:



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IGN: Some time ago, we learned that Camelot was breaking away from Nintendo development to create a PC golf game. What happened with that title?

Hiroyuki and Shugo Takahashi: Well, the original impetus for thinking about a PC golf game was the fact that at that time, and even now in Japan to some extent, the PC game market was not really fully realized. It seemed there was this great potential of all these PCs connected together, and we really thought there was an opportunity for us to realize some of that potential with a PC golf that. That was the original intention. But in the end we went all the way through a closed BETA working on this PC project. Looking a the market and the situation at the time, though, it was really turning out to be a risky adventure, not only for us but also for the company which we were collaborating with. And actually, there was a bit of miscommunication. They actually didn't have their online code and backbone together quite as much as we had thought, so it was just a situation where things didn't quite work out in the end. That project is kind of on hold right now.

IGN: That project was called 'I Love Golf.' Was it the inspiration for We Love Golf?

Hiroyuki and Shugo Takahashi: No, they are not the same project or anything like that. Of course, we certainly learned a lot going through the process of going all the way through a closed BETA and that has certainly helped us with a lot of the online components in We Love Golf. But they are completely different projects. We also learned not only a lot about creating an online infrastructure, but also a lot of new stuff about doing control. Just doing tests with new ways to control our games. And that has had a really positive effect on We Love Golf.

IGN: What do you think of Wii Sports golf, Tiger Woods Golf and Super Swing Golf?

Hiroyuki and Shugo Takahashi: I don't know if it's the way we think about golf or the way we think about games, but Camelot's way of thinking is very different from the companies that make those titles. My own feeling about those games is that they feel like they are almost there. They are almost there -- almost doing what they want to do -- but there is just a little something missing.

IGN: That's exactly how we feel.

Hiroyuki and Shugo Takahashi: And that's true in real golf as well. Especially when beginners start to play golf. They have the basic idea, but there is something missing in their game that they have to find. There are times when they just don't know their own abilities. They don't know how far they can drive the ball a lot of the time. There is a lot of times where, you know, you're aiming for the green and think you're going to hit it on the green, but you completely miss and go off in a different direction. One of the things that we try to do with our games -- especially We Love Golf -- is that we want the players who don't have their game down perfectly to learn to play perfectly by playing the game. We want to make a game that's going to build skill in players using the Wii remote and we're really happy about the way that's turned out.

This is something that we've been asked before, but we don't want to make a game where we take the player and put them on the course as Tiger Woods. We don't want to just say, 'Okay, you're Tiger Woods and now you can play the best golf in the world.' There's a disconnect when you give the player control of Tiger Woods and yet you're still getting the ball flying all over the course. We just think that's kind of strange. [Laugher]

We think it's more exciting to provide the player with an experience that lets them find their own game, that lets them have trying to hit an Eagle in, rather than giving them control of Tiger Woods or some other golf superstar. We think it's more fun if we let the player build their own skill. That's a big difference in the thinking between our game and the others.

IGN: Not only do you allow Mii characters in We Love Golf, but players can actually take them online in competitive matches. Many developers have told us it's difficult to get approval from Nintendo to use Mii characters in their games.

Hiroyuki and Shugo Takahashi: Well, we're Camelot, right? [Laughter] Nintendo trusts us! Now we're worried if you're going to write that. [Laughter]

Actually, third parties are always making Nintendo different offers on how they want to use Miis in their games. I think maybe the problem that a lot of developers are having relates to how they are trying to use the Miis in their games. Of course, our game as well -- we have characters that we provide that players can select, but we feel that maybe the way we use Miis is rewarding enough that Nintendo felt it was worth it. We think that dealing with Nintendo and using Miis, they really have a high level of quality that is important for them to keep. I guess we were just fortunate enough to pass their test in this case.

IGN: What prompted you to add online support for the American release of We Love Golf?

Hiroyuki and Shugo Takahashi: You know, we're a Japanese developer, but we really do have a lot of fans overseas and we wanted to do a little something extra for our American and European fans. That's the basic thinking behind why we put online behind these versions. To be honest, a lot of times we wish we could developer the American version first. We're really grateful that we have fans that are willing to wait for our games. We always want to get the American version out first, but inevitably it always takes more time with localization. We're sorry.

IGN: As we've said, we agree with you that developers haven't quite nailed golf on Wii yet. Neither have they nailed tennis. So the inevitable question comes -- you guys have a background with Tennis titles on Nintendo platforms. Are you ready to take a stab at making it right on Wii?

Hiroyuki and Shugo Takahashi: Soon. [Laughter]

Well, first off, we would just love to say that we really, really appreciate the constant support of our fans waiting for our next game. We really, really want to satisfy the fans as quickly as we can. I said 'soon' kind of as a joke, but that's really what I want to be able to say. Honestly, just like your readers saying that they want to see a new Golden Sun, a new tennis game, a new Shining Force, well, everyone in Camelot feels the same way -- we really want to get these games out for you guys. So the staff tells us a lot, 'If we keep doing all of these sports games, we're going to start to get bored.' So there's that.

IGN: Can we at least say that the Camelot RPG for Wii is still in the works?

Hiroyuki and Shugo Takahashi: Did we have something? [Laughter]

IGN: DS?

Hiroyuki and Shugo Takahashi: Well, you know, just like how we said our staff has been hoping to create new RPGs, we are definitely in the planning stages of doing something interesting. We hope that you will be looking forward to our future game. We ourselves are looking forward to the next Camelot RPG as well, just like you.
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PostSubject: Re: news/reviews/previews   Tue Apr 01, 2008 12:48 am

IGN: Great. Coming back to We Love Golf, you guys have a handful of Capcom-inspired costumes in the game. Any thoughts about doing a full-blown Capcom golfer in the style of Mario Golf, which you also developed?

Hiroyuki and Shugo Takahashi: When we first started this collaboration with Capcom, the first game that we offered up to Capcom was something like that -- something where we put out a lot of the different Capcom characters and a lot of of the Capcom flavor to make it a Capcom golf game. The thing is, this is really Capcom's first entry into the sports game arena and they really felt for this first collaboration that they wanted us to make not so much a Capcom golf game, but a Camelot golf game. So, in the end, we decided on adding this small amount of Capcom fan service for this time. The reason that the costumes are in there is because we had to have something. We had to have some Capcom stuff in there. We had a graphic designer who really just loves Capcom characters and he insisted. He actually just went ahead and made some of these styles, Capcom liked them, and we included them.

IGN: Do you think videogame golf is better with the Wii remote?

Hiroyuki and Shugo Takahashi: This is a difficult question. One of the things we've learned in making We Love Golf is that it really is very cool and fun to use the Wii remote as a golf club in a game. Especially the example of a power shot. Actually having the player put their own energy into the swing and having that have a real effect on the game -- that's something that's really cool and something we've never been able to do before. It's very realistic. So, you know, going through this experience we definitely do think that for golf and games, putting those together, the Wii remote is really great for it. It took the experience of making this game before we sure if it was actually good, but yes, we do think it is best.

Of course, we've made golf games for the Game Boy Advance, and those games are meant to be played when you're in the car or on the bus or whatever. You can play them for a long time and clear all of the courses as many times as you want, but in the end you really swing a golf club while you're in the car. For an active player -- for someone who really wants to get into the golf aspects of playing a videogame -- we think using the Wii remote is probably the best way. But honestly, for a very, very casual user who just wants to have a fun, relaxing time with a game, it might be better to use a traditional button control system as well. They both have their benefits. If you're going to play at home in front of a big screen, we definitely think you're going to want to have a Wii remote.

IGN: We've found that in some of these golf games for Wii, you get the tactile, haptic feedback when swinging the Wii remote, but you sometimes lose the accuracy associated with a traditional analog stick. Case in point, in Tiger Woods, it's incredibly easy to add hook or slice to shots without actually meaning to do so, or to send the ball one way when meaning to send it the other. What're your thoughts on this?

Hiroyuki and Shugo Takahashi: Even after starting out with the goal that we were going to make a golf game for Wii and do the controls right and eventually, in our opinion, coming to that goal, it was still incredibly difficult to find the right control scheme for the game. We've tried a lot of things. A lot of different control schemes and a lot of fine tuning. It took a lot to get to this point and we think you'll see that in the game. We're sure that other developers -- not just developers of golf games -- everyone has had a very difficult time finding the best ways to use the Wii remote.

The important thing about control in games is that it's only going to be fun if you're able to do what you want to do with the controls. If you fail somehow and you don't know why, it's very, very stressful for the player, as we're sure you know.

IGN: We have a lot of stress when we play shovelware Wii games.

Hiroyuki and Shugo Takahashi: This being our first Wii game, we learned a lot about using the parameters we have that is still fun and rewarding for the player. We're pretty proud of the initial directions that we wanted to take We Love Golf in. In the end, you can't have a lot of really good technology without a great design and you also can't have great design without the right technology to make it a success. We're proud of the balance we've been able to strike with the Wii remote. Maybe that's the Camelot flavor.

IGN: Some Nintendo fans are under the impression that Camelot is no longer as close to Nintendo as it once was. Is this true? Supposing Nintendo approached you to make Mario Golf or Mario Tennis for Wii, would you do it?

Hiroyuki and Shugo Takahashi: Now that we're doing a collaboration with Capcom, there is that feeling that Camelot isn't working so closely with Nintendo, but that's not really true. We still have a lot of design ideas - and not just sports games -- that we go back and forth with Nintendo on. We still do have a very close relationship with Nintendo. But one thing is, for example, if we would want to make a sports game that isn't necessarily a Mario game -- well, if we made a sports game with Nintendo that wasn't a Mario game, players would immediately ask why it wasn't a Mario game. So there is a lot of things like that which we consider.

We talked a little bit before about wanting to create some sequels to some of our older games. If you look at some of our older games, like Shining Force, those are fairly dark games. Those aren't the kind of things, especially at first glance, that you would think might be a great Camelot / Nintendo collaboration. By doing things with a lot of different companies, like Capcom, we're trying to do see if we can start doing more different things again. We're really looking forward to a lot of our ideas coming to fruition.

IGN: One last question. We heard that you two are big bowlers. And the one game in Wii Sports that really works without question for us is bowling. However, it's shallow. Have you thought about taking bowling to the next level on Wii?

Hiroyuki and Shugo Takahashi: We always get asked this question. [Laughter] Actually, another thing that we like is mixed martial arts so people always ask us when we're going to make a mixed martial arts game. We think it's a natural question to get asked. And we of course have ideas and we're definitely not going to say we're never going to make a bowling game.

IGN: Fantastic. Release date?

Hiroyuki and Shugo Takahashi: Soon. [Laughter] Let's just say soon.
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